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The Asylum

Welcome to the Asylum. This is a site devoted to politics and current events in America, and around the globe. The THREE lunatics posting here are unabashed conservatives that go after the liberal lies and deceit prevalent in the debate of the day. We'd like to add that the views expressed here do not reflect the views of other inmates, nor were any inmates harmed in the creation of this site.

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Live-Blog: The President's State Of The Union

This will be a heck of a post for us. We will both be watching this, and we'll both be right here. A collaborative, semi-pre-prepared post or column is one thing. WE have only live-blogged once, and we could not keep up. Tonight, we're hoping to change that. Each time we post, we will post up the time on our screen. Please bear in mind that we are in Arizona, therefore it will be by our time zone. We're sorry for any conversions you may have to do.

As Thomas and I decided, I have the point on this. Just bear with us, please. Just a note to the readers who were unaware. Mother "Moonbat" Sheehan is in the gallery. The gallery pass was courtesy of Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey. Keep her in mind because she is up for reelection this year, and I am sure Dianne Feinstein will not forget about that either.

6:55 p.m.: It is being reported that Cindy Sheehan has been detained, and not arrested ... yet. CNN is reporting that Cindy Sheehan unfolded a banner in the gallery, which is a no-no in the House. Capitol Police have taken her into custody, and she is not being allowed back in. It is so nice to see that the Left, as always, never disappoints, and is always predictable.

7:00 p.m.: It begins. And there is Justice Alito, and Chief Justice Roberts. A quick flash by FOX to catch Justice Alito's wife--applauding her newly-appointed husband. The Cabinet is filing in now. Dr. Rice, Sec. Rumsfeld, Gen. Gonzales, etc.

7:07 p.m."Mr. Speaker, the President of the United States." He is inside, making his way down, and surprisingly, there are applauding Democrats; Sheila Jackson Lee among them. He just stopped and said hello to Justice Alito. And ... Here we go ...

7:10 p.m.: After Hastert's intro, more applause as the president prepares to speak. ... Welcomes all around ... Coretta Scott King's acknowledgement, which we knew he would touch on; good words, honored words regarding the late Civil Rights' leader's widow ... Revisiting history, not specifically, but one in which serves as a reminder of things gone by ... "strong, and together we will make it stronger" ...

7:14 p.m.: Setting the agenda ... talking about the challenges ahead ... "The United States of America will continue to lead" ... Moving onto the war, and the goals of our moves to promote democracy in an area where none existed ... Speaking about terrorism ... "Democracies replace resentment with hope." ... "We will act boldly in freedom's cause."

7:16 p.m.: Still speaking on democracy. ... Made a gaffe, referred to Iran as a democracy. ... Talking about the fact we must take the terrorist's goals seriously. ... Touching on acts of terrorism around the world to emphasize their weapon of fear. ... "We love our freedom and we will fight to keep it." ... Hitting the cut-and-run crowd about what it means to stand up, and be counted.

7:19 p.m.: "The United States will not retreat from the world, and we will never surrender to evil." ... "America rejects the false comfort of isolationism." ... Nice touch on Afghanistan and Iraq, and what is being done in both places, including fighting terror and rebuilding. ... Accomplishments in Iraq, and what we have done in terms of defense of Iraq.

7:22 p.m.: "We are winning;" clear message to the Democrats. ... Touching on the draw down of troops, and reinforced that the military will make that decision, not politicians. ... Talking about our tactics, and how they've changed. ... Slapped the "Defeatocrats"; "Second guessing is not a strategy." ... Informing people what would happen with a premature departure from Iraq; not pretty. ... Acknowledging the troops, citing Dan Clay--"'I know what honor is. It has been an honor to protect and serve all of you.'" ... Drawing attention to his wife and family. ... Got a wink to Laura there. ...

7:27 p.m.: Never forget the sacrifices. ... Talking about democracy, and I can see the message to Hamas unfolding. ... Palestinians talked about, including our message to them, same as Israel's--disarm and work towards peace. ... "Liberty is the right and hope of all humanity." ... Iran now, and he is holding little back. ... We can see the message for Ahmadinejad--your days are numbered, and we will not allow you to have nukes; period. ... We will rally the world against these threats. ... Message to Iranians: we support you and your struggle against the theocracy. ...

7:31 p.m.: We show compassion abraod. ... Talking about disease and mistreatment. ... Talking about the seedier side of foreign nations. ... Pushing towards getting nations to do better with their people, and pushes Congress to help nations in need abroad. ... reinstate the Patriot Act. ... Going onto NSA intercept program, acknowledging it, touching on court and traditional precedents, and explaining WHY he instituted it. ...

7:36 p.m.: Plea to Congress to straighten up and fly right to HELP the nation in it's struggle. ... Domestic economy. ... 4.6 million new jobs, more than Japan and EU combined. ... Moving onto the strengthening of our economy. ... Immigration, and our economy cannot function without them. (LEGAL, yes.) ... We intend to shape our future and our economy. ... 880 billion in returned revenues helped the economy. ...

7:40 p.m.: Tax relief to run out, "I urge the congress to act responsibly and make the tax-cuts permanent." ... We must be the stewards of tax dollars, heading into "fiscal responsibility." ... Cutting programs. ... 14 billion in savings in 2007, and cut deficit in half by 2009. ... Earmark reform, "too many special interests." ... "Pass the line item veto."... Tackle mandatory spending and entitlements. ... Hillary rolling eyes over Clinton joke. ... Going after Social Security reform again (Let's stick to it, boys.)

7:43 p.m.: Democrtats making asses of themselves over refusing to move forward on Soc. Sec. Reform. ... "We need to put aside partisan politics, and work together to get this problem solved." ... Going on the global economy side, and touching on America's roile in the global marketplace. ... Immigration system that upholds our laws. ... We must have stronger immigration enforcement and border security. ... Amnesty program, AGAIN. ... Hitting Health Care now. ...

7:46 p.m.: We must confront the rising cost of care. ... Health savings accounts to level the health care playing field. ... Can switch jobs w/o losing health insurance. ... Pass medical liability reform this year. ... Energy problem, "America is addicted to oil" from unstable parts of the world. ... Advance energy initiative. ... Citing other energy options such a clean-burning coal, solar and nuclear technology. ... Pushing pollution-free cars, funding research, in clean burning, economical ethanol, within 6 years. ... Replace 75% of oil imports by 2025. ... Ending Middle East dependance. ...

7:50 p.m.: Education next, and citing our talented people. "American competitiveness initiative" focusing on math and science. ... Double federal commitment to such areas. ... R & D tax credit to be reinstated. ... "If we ensure that America's children succeed in life, they will ensure that America succeeds int he world." ...

7:53 p.m.: In recent years, America has become a more hopeful nation. ... Citing strides in our nation including the drop in teen pregnancy, crime rates, and drug use. ... "A life of personal responsibility is a life fulfilled." ... Oooh, he's touching on some toughies like judicial activism, corrupt officials, and other challenges. ... "We have proved the pessimists wrong before, and we will do it again. " ... Recognizing Chief Justice Roberts, and Associate Justice Alito. ... "Judges must be servants of the law, and not legisalte from the bench." ... Acklnowledging Justice O'Connor.

7:57 p.m.: Pass legislation banning cloning, hybrid animals, embryos, etc., and other abuses of medical science. ... "These are gifts from our Creator, and are not for sale." ... Hitting on corrupt officials, and how they should never betray our trust. ... Acknowledging Laura on her help with the youth initiative. ... 85 billion committed to Gulf Coast, and rebuilding. ... STRENGTHEN areas od blight to bring it up in stature and eqaulity for opportunity. ...

8:00 p.m.: Disease and HIV, and what must done to help those in need through the Ryan White Act. ... Move to a day where there are no new infections in America. ... (Nothing on bird flu, yet...not that I'm worried, per se.) ... "Like Americans, we will show that courage." ... Clsoing up, and what a DAMN goods speech it was.

Publius II
The Bunny ;)

ADDENDUM: Welcome Republican Jen readers, and TY for visiting.

Who At The LA Times Will Take Credit For This Drivel?

The LA Times today put up an appalling editorial. It is cited below, with my unique commentary included, as usual.

PALESTINIANS RECEIVE MORE international aid, per capita, than any people in the world. The upset victory by Hamas in the Palestinian elections offers a rare opportunity, for the United States and for the international community, to rethink what that aid could realistically accomplish — and under what conditions humanitarian aid could be provided to Palestinians without the risk that it would be siphoned to Hamas.

President Bush is right to threaten to cut off U.S. aid to a Palestinian government controlled by Hamas. U.S. law and common decency preclude taxpayer money from going to a terrorist group that has vowed to annihilate Israel. (Most of the $1.7 billion in U.S. aid after the 1993 Oslo agreement didn't go to the government, but the Palestinian Authority had been slated to get $150 million from the U.S. this year.)

And Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, meeting with other donors Monday in London, is right to try to organize an immediate cutoff of international aid unless Hamas renounces violence and recognizes Israel's right to exist. Thankfully, the Europeans are standing firm on that principle, although some nations may act more quickly than others.

Still, the Bush administration should take care not to become imprisoned by its own rhetoric. Now is the time for the United States to use its leverage over Hamas, but only if the administration makes a concerted effort to explain what it's doing and why.

Before we get rolling I would like to address the comment referring to the president's rhetoric. The rhetoric revolving around those that embrace terrorism has not wavered. We will not deal with them. We will not work with them. This has been the common and traditional stance that we have maintained since terrorism became a serious issue in 1979. Hamas has refused to give the Israelis any quarter, and has maintained that they refuse to recognize Israel's existence. As long as that and the violence continues, there will be no working with the Palestinians.

First, the administration should be careful about the message it sends to the Arab world by preaching democracy as a cure-all and then refusing to deal with the democratically elected Palestinian government. The anti-American crowd will be howling hypocrisy. Bush should counter by stating, loudly and often, that denying aid to Hamas is not inconsistent with the support of democracy.

This is the only intelligent thing stated by the editorial board, but this was something maintained by the president and the administration after the Hamas landslide. We recognize that the process of democracy did work. However, we cannot excuse the fact that Hamas is a terrorist organization that has refused to renounce it's violence.

Second, the U.S. should look hard to find the best nongovernmental projects of true humanitarian benefit to the Palestinian people — and think hard about how to continue to fund them. One obvious strategy is reallocating U.S. funds to Palestinian health clinics, thus depriving Hamas of its near-monopoly on delivering healthcare to the poor. The U.S. has had such "workarounds" for years. What must stop is the type of corrupt and corrupting U.S. slush fund that was ladled out to Fatah, which was deposed in last week's election, in a vain attempt to buy votes.

Personally, humanitarian aid should be doled out by humanitarian agencies, minus US money, unless it is personal contributions. Such a large amoutn of money will work it's way into the hands of Hamas. Support of the people can be handled through agencies designed to render such aid. And in my opinion, Hamas should be frozen out of any sort of aid--be it money, consultations, or equipment. And this goes for Europe, too. To truly be serious in the war on terror, the coalition of the willing cannot waver. Europe has been known for it's waffling and support of such regimes. (See France, Germany, and Russia for Iraq; Russia, China, North Korea, and Pakistan for Iran.)

Finally, the administration probably won't be able to get any Arab states onboard for a cutoff of aid to a Hamas-led government. So it had best try to make sure that at least some of the international promises to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas are kept — with Arab money if need be. Washington pushed Abbas to pension off thousands of aging fighters to streamline the security services. Cutting them off would only send dangerous men into the streets.

Amusing. Pensions for terrorists. Of course, was this not what Saddam was doing for families who had suicide bombers that sacrificed themselves? And what Arab nations would the LA Times like to see helping the Palestinians? Iran? I believe Hezbollah has lent enough support of the Palestinians in the past; anything further could be construed as an act of war. Saudi Arabia? What, more militant wahhabism? I think not.

The coming weeks and months, which will see the formulation of a Palestinian government and elections in Israel, promise to be unusually tense, even for the Mideast. The Bush administration can help ease the tension by using its leverage not to punish the Palestinian people but to promote the cause of peace.

Newsflash to the LA Times:Hamas is not interested in peace. Indeed, do not take my word for it. Take the word of Mahmoud Al-Zahhar, leader of Hamas.

Mahmoud Al-Zahhar: We will not give up the resistance in the sense of Jihad, martyrdom-seeking, sacrifices, arrests, the demolition of homes, and the uprooting of trees, at the same time, nor the shattering of the Israeli enemy’s honor in all the confrontations - the war of tunnels and of security against the Israeli enemy, which ultimately led to its withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and part of the West Bank.

We will not allow a situation in which a person who is wounded cannot be treated anywhere, unless he goes to the Israeli enemy, or is transferred across the border. Our education system will not represent Palestine as a coastal strip stretching from Rafah to Beit Hanoun. We will teach them their history and the geography of Palestine. Our ministry of culture will teach them how the martyr is turned into prose, literature, and poetry, and how a woman, who used to cook and do the laundry, turns into one of the heroes of Palestine.

Now, does the LA Times get it? I hope so. These people--Hamas specifically--does not wish peace. They want Israel gone, wiped off the map. They want the Jews eradicated. This was a process of democracy true, but it's legitimacy is comparable to the rise of Adolf Hitler. (Sorry for the comparison--I know it is not looked on favorably when Hitler is invoked--but just give me a moment to explain.)

Hitler was democratically elected in Germany, incited the German people, and eventually launched a war greater than the "war to end all wars." In the end, millions lost their lives on the battlefield and the concentration camps of Germany. Hitler was not given a pass because he was elected through the democratic process. We should not excuse Hamas of their hatred and determination against the Jews because they were also democratically elected. Hamas should be dealt with, but not by us. If and when they do attack Israel, Israel should respond by declaring war on the Palestinian state, and defeating them once and for all.

The only thing the world should worry about those in the Palestinian state that will end up suffering under Hamas' rule, and those that will be affected in a potential war with Israel. Humanitarian groups are the way to go, not a direct check to the government. And definitely not through aid agencies that Hamas promotes.

The Bunny ;)

Ms. O'Connor, Your Services Are No Longer Required

By a vote of 58 to 42, Judge Samuel Alito has been elevated to the United States Supreme Court. This is, of course, a point of irritation and consternation amongst the Left. Too bad. Associate Justice O'Connor can now clean out her office, and her deask, making way for a solid constitutionally-minded jurist.

I mean no serious disrespect to outgoing Justice O'Connor; I simply have disagreed with her ideas more than I agree with them. It is much like listening to the "Smart Guys"--John Chapman and Erwin Chemirinsky--on Hugh Hewitt's show, and knowing that Erwin's a nut. I respect him, as a person, but I dislike his ideas regarding jurisprudence.

Justice Alito was sworn in shortly after his successful vote by Chief Justice John Roberts--the judicial and Constitutional Oaths--and he will be seated amonst his collegaues on the high court tonight during the president's State of the Union speech.

Now, I know that people have already razzed me, via E-mail, about my bad prediction. Well, every dog has their day, and I had mine with Roberts. I can assure our readers that when the next justice steps down, that mistake will not be made again. Send your regards to Sabrina as she was closest between the three of us to nail the vote count.

As a matter of fact, the next jurist to come up will most definitely incite World War III; the next one will tip the balance back to it's proper position. So, let's all gather 'round and pray for the next one to step down by the end of this court's current session. Don't pray for their death, you sick puppies; just pray for the step down. And ... remember the list. It will be prominent in the months to come when that next jurist decides that they've had enough with the high court.

Publius II

Monday, January 30, 2006

We Will Not Make The Same Mistake Again

Well, look who popped his head up after a couple of weeks. Al-Zawahiri was obviously not among the dead in the Hellfire strike in Pakistan. (Hat-Tip: http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=19015_Zawahris_Excellent_Rant&only">LGF.)

Al-Qaida No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahri said in a videotape aired Monday that President Bush was a "butcher" and a "failure" because of a deadly U.S. airstrike in Pakistan targeting the bin Laden deputy, and he threatened a new attack on the United States.

Al-Zawahri, shown in the video wearing white robes and a white turban, said a Jan. 13 airstrike in the eastern village of Damadola killed "innocents," and he said the United States had ignored an offer from al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden for a truce.

How serious is an offer of truce when the man making the offer also promises more attacks on the United States? It did not sound like a serious offer to begin with, and it was reminiscent of the sorts of offers given to the Israelis from Yasser Arafat. It was a stalling tactic to regroup.

"Butcher of Washington, you are not only defeated and a liar, but also a failure. You are a curse on your own nation and you have brought and will bring them only catastrophes and tragedies," he said, referring to Bush. "Bush, do you know where I am? I am among the Muslim masses."

Look! He is using the Democrat talking points. We knew that al Qaeda had finally joined their true brethren in the US when they started using the same language as the cut-and-run "Defeatocrats."

The airstrike hit a building in Damadola, where U.S. intelligence believed al-Zawahri had been attending an Islamic holiday dinner. The strike killed four al-Qaida leaders — including a man believed to be al-Zawahri's son-in-law — but intelligence officials said later they believe al-Zawahri sent his aides to the dinner in his place.

And there is no way to know how many were actually killed. Capt. Ed pointed to a New York Times story that I covered regarding the removal of the bodies. We are sure that it killed four al Qaeda members, but beyond that, we simply do not know.

Thirteen villagers also were killed in the strike, angering many Pakistanis.

"The American planes raided in compliance with Musharraf the traitor and his security apparatus, the slave of the Crusaders and the Jews," he said, referring to Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf.

"In seeking to kill my humble self and four of my brothers, the whole world has discovered the extent of America's lies and failures and the extent of its savagery in fighting Islam and Muslims."

This is rich. This man is going to lecture us about savagery? The last time I checked, we were not beheading innocent civilians and non-combatants in accordance with any "holy" law like Zarqawi is doing in Iraq.

The video was al-Zawahri's first appearance since the airstrike and came 11 days after the latest audiotape by bin Laden. IntelCenter, a contractor working with U.S. intelligence agencies, said the video of al-Zawahri is new.

The last video from al-Zawahri came Jan. 6, when he called the U.S. decision to withdraw some troops from Iraq a victory for the Islamic world.

The Al-Jazeera newscaster said Monday the network was airing excerpts, and it showed two short segments. It was not immediately known how long the entire tape was.

And of course this tape comes from the al Qaeda propaganda wing of Al Jazeera. Anything else would be uncivilized, and subject to scrutiny. Not that Al Jazeera is not already under it's due share of scrutiny. In my personal opinion, I believe it is time we pulled the plug on them, permanently.

In the video, al-Zawahri spoke before a black background. No automatic weapon was visible, unlike past videos by the al-Qaida deputy in which a gun often appeared leaning next to him. In the bottom left corner, the video had the logo in Arabic and English of Al-Sahab, an al-Qaida video production company that made some past videos by bin Laden and al-Zawahri.

The lack of a weapon by him is curious, and is sure to fuel some speculation in the intelligence community. Much like the video shortly after our campaign in the Tora Bora region started showing Osama with one of his arms tucked to his side; a possible indicator that he was wounded.

"My second message is to the American people, who are drowning in illusions. I tell you that Bush and his gang are shedding your blood and wasting your money in frustrated adventures," he said, speaking in a forceful and angry voice.

"The lion of Islam, Sheik Osama bin Laden, may God protect him, offered you a decent exit from your dilemma. But your leaders, who are keen to accumulate wealth, insist on throwing you in battles and killing your souls in Iraq and Afghanistan and — God willing — on your own land."

First you warn us about the administration, then you threaten us. Al Zawahiri must have gone to the Roy Blunt school on how to earn friends and influence people.

Al-Zawahri then vented more fury at the United States and Britain, its main coalition partner in Iraq.

"Your leaders responded to the initiative of sheik Osama, may God protect him, by saying they don't negotiate with terrorists and that they are winning the war on terror. I tell them: You liars, greedy war mongers, who is pulling out from Iraq and Afghanistan? Us or you? Whose soldiers are committing suicide because of despair? Us or you?" he said.

Could Zawahiri be a bit more specific. I have read of no soldier committing suicide over his or her "despair." I have read of cowards who refuse to stand by their oath, and serve this nation, but none that have committed suicide. (If any of our regular readers have verifiable information to the contrary, e-mail Thomas, and I will correct this, but I am pretty sure I am correct.) And as for the "pull-out" from Iraq, it is a standard procedure the military s going through. This is not running froma fight; it is a draw-down in preparation for the Iraqis to take control of their nation.

"You, American mother, if the Pentagon calls to tell you that your son is coming home in a coffin, then remember George Bush . And you, British wife, if the Defense Department calls you to say that your husband is returning crippled and burnt, remember Tony Blair."

That is a Mother sheehan talking point. I wonder if she will contact Zawahiri to act as her campaign manager against Sen. Feinstein. (BTW, we join Michelle Malkin in endorsing Mother Moonbat's run for office.)

The video came in the wake of a Jan. 19 audiotape by bin Laden in which he warned that al-Qaida is preparing attacks in the United States but offered a truce "with fair conditions" to build Iraq and Afghanistan.

The al-Qaida leader did not spell out conditions for a truce in the excerpts aired by Al-Jazeera.
U.S. officials said after the bin Laden tape that they had no sign that al-Qaida was preparing an imminent attack in the United States.

In an Arabic transcription of the entire tape on the Al-Jazeera Web site — but not aired — bin Laden made an oblique reference to how to prevent new attacks on the United States but did not specify if those were conditions for a truce.

There will be no truce. There will be no surrender, unless it comes from al Qaeda. And Vice president Cheney makes the appropriate statement regarding the truce just a few lines below this, bolded for emphasis.

The tape was the first message from bin Laden in more than a year. The CIA authenticated the voice on the tape as that of bin Laden. Al-Jazeera said the tape was recorded in the Islamic month that corresponds with December.

The White House firmly rejected bin Laden's suggestion of a negotiated truce.

"We don't negotiate with terrorists," Vice President Dick Cheney said at the time. "I think you have to destroy them."

During the year of silence from bin Laden, al-Zawahri issued several video and audiotapes, including one claiming al-Qaida responsibility for the July 7 London bombings.

It was hoping against hope that we had killed Zawahiri, but now that we know he is alive, we will know btter next time to aim better. Yes, there was contention that he had missed that meeting, but in missing him, we were able to kill a few more of the al Qaeda leaders. We still do not have an exact body count as their brethren came to collect those bodies.

Let them rant. Let them spin. It is only a matter of time before the noose is tight around their necks.
The Bunny ;)

The Times Tanks And Misses

Yesterday Marcie jumped on this editorial from the New York Times. So did John Hinderaker. The editorial was clearly a "jump the shark" moment for the Times as their "legal eagles" on the editorial board still don't understand the simple fact that FISA can't contravene or supercede the powers of the president as enumerated under Article II. Today, Debbie Burlingame, a former attorney, and the sister of Charles Burlingame--the pilot on AA Flight 77 that was crashed into the Pentagon--weighs in on the subject. Below is an excerpt, and the emphasis is mine.

Furthermore, it was the impenetrable FISA guidelines and fear of provoking the FISA court's wrath if they were transgressed that discouraged risk-averse FBI supervisors from applying for a FISA search warrant in the Zacarias Moussaoui case. The search, finally conducted on the afternoon of 9/11, produced names and phone numbers of people in the thick of the 9/11 plot, so many fertile clues that investigators believe that at least one airplane, if not all four, could have been saved.

In 2002, FISA's appellate level Court of Review examined the entire statutory scheme for issuing warrants in national security investigations and declared the "wall" a nonsensical piece of legal overkill, based neither on express statutory language nor reasonable interpretation of the FISA statute. The lower court's attempt to micromanage the execution of national security warrants was deemed an assertion of authority which neither Congress or the Constitution granted it. In other words, those lawyers and judges who created, implemented and so assiduously enforced the FISA guidelines were wrong and the American people paid dearly for it.

Despite this history, some members of Congress contend that this process-heavy court is agile enough to rule on quickly needed National Security Agency (NSA) electronic surveillance warrants. This is a dubious claim. Getting a FISA warrant requires a multistep review involving several lawyers at different offices within the Department of Justice. It can take days, weeks, even months if there is a legal dispute between the principals. "Emergency" 72-hour intercepts require sign-offs by NSA lawyers and pre-approval by the attorney general before surveillance can be initiated. Clearly, this is not conducive to what Gen. Michael Hayden, principal deputy director of national intelligence, calls "hot pursuit" of al Qaeda conversations.

The Senate will soon convene hearings on renewal of the Patriot Act and the NSA terrorist surveillance program. A minority of senators want to gamble with American lives and "fix" national security laws, which they can't show are broken. They seek to eliminate or weaken anti-terrorism measures which take into account that the Cold War and its slow-moving, analog world of landlines and stationary targets is gone. The threat we face today is a completely new paradigm of global terrorist networks operating in a high-velocity digital age using the Web and fiber-optic technology. After four-and-a-half years without another terrorist attack, these senators think we're safe enough to cave in to the same civil liberties lobby that supported that deadly FISA wall in the first place. What if they, like those lawyers and judges, are simply wrong?

Meanwhile, the media, mouthing phrases like "Article II authority," "separation of powers" and "right to privacy," are presenting the issues as if politics have nothing to do with what is driving the subject matter and its coverage. They want us to forget four years of relentless "connect-the-dots" reporting about the missed chances that "could have prevented 9/11." They have discounted the relevance of references to the two 9/11 hijackers who lived in San Diego. But not too long ago, the media itself reported that phone records revealed that five or six of the hijackers made extensive calls overseas.

NBC News aired an "exclusive" story in 2004 that dramatically recounted how al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar, the San Diego terrorists who would later hijack American Airlines flight 77 and fly it into the Pentagon, received more than a dozen calls from an al Qaeda "switchboard" inside Yemen where al-Mihdhar's brother-in-law lived. The house received calls from Osama Bin Laden and relayed them to operatives around the world. Senior correspondent Lisa Myers told the shocking story of how, "The NSA had the actual phone number in the United States that the switchboard was calling, but didn't deploy that equipment, fearing it would be accused of domestic spying." Back then, the NBC script didn't describe it as "spying on Americans." Instead, it was called one of the "missed opportunities that could have saved 3,000 lives."

The media is quick to jump on the "civil liberties" bandwagon when any perceived misstep occurs. Thank God we have laws, judges, and lawyers that understand the Constitutional authority granted to the president better than those on the NY Times editorial board. As a matter of fact, Mr. Hinderacker does an outstanding job bringing up the key cases that supports the president's use of such authority.

When lawyers make technical legal arguments, we generally cite case law. Like, for example, United States v. Clay, 430 F.2d 165 (5th Cir. 1970), in which the court held that federal statutes prohibiting wiretapping do not "[forbid] he President, or his representative, from ordering wiretap surveillance to obtain foreign intelligence in the national interest." That seems obviously pertinent; what does the Times have to say about the Clay case? Nothing. It doesn't mention it.

Another relevant case is United States v. Butenko, 494 F.2d 593 (3rd Cir. 1974), where the court held that no judicial warrant was necessary where "surveillances ... were 'conducted and maintained solely for the purpose of gathering foreign intelligence information.'” Butenko blows a giant hole in the Times' legal theory. What does the Times have to say about the Butenko case? Nothing. It doesn't mention it.

Then there's United States v. Truong, 629 F.2d 908 (4th Cir. 1980), where the court sustained the federal government's position, which it summarized as follows:

"In the area of foreign intelligence, the government contends, the President may authorize surveillance without seeking a judicial warrant because of his constitutional prerogatives in the area of foreign affairs.
The court explained why the President has the inherent constitutional authority to order warrantless electronic surveillance:"

For several reasons, the needs of the executive are so compelling in the area of foreign intelligence, unlike the area of domestic security, that a uniform warrant requirement would, following [United States v. United States District Court, 407 U.S. 297 (1972)],

“unduly frustrate” the President in carrying out his foreign affairs responsibilities. First of all, attempts to counter foreign threats to the national security require the utmost stealth, speed and secrecy. A warrant requirement would add a procedural hurdle that would reduce the flexibility of executive foreign intelligence activities, in some cases delay executive response to foreign intelligence threats, and increase the chance of leaks regarding sensitive executive operations."

United States v. Duggan, 743 F.2d 59 (2nd Cir. 1984), was a terrorism case in which the court, among other rulings, upheld the constitutionality of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). The court wrote:

"Prior to the enactment of FISA, virtually every court that had addressed the issue had concluded that the President had the inherent power to conduct warrantless electronic surveillance to collect foreign intelligence information, and that such surveillances constituted an exception to the warrant requirement of the Fourth Amendment."

A damning summary. Surely the Times has a rejoinder to the court's statement that the universal weight of authority is against the paper's position? Nope...

It's not hard to figure out why the Times editorialists pretend that Sealed Case No 02-001 doesn't exist. It conclusively refutes their legal position:

"The Truong court, as did all the other courts to have decided the issue, held that the President did have inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches to obtain foreign intelligence information. ... We take for granted that the President does have that authority and, assuming that is so, FISA could not encroach on the President’s constitutional power."

So the only federal appellate court that has ruled on the issue says that the New York Times is wrong about the law. The Times, ostrich-like, pretends that the federal courts don't exist.

And this is because the Times thinks that it knows all, and what it prints and says is Gospel truth. That's not the case. John cited six cases above that the president has the authority. Don't take his word for it; take the courts' collective word on the subject. They have upheld the powers of the president in case after case. The "ostrich-like" times continues to deny that these cases mean anything. In fact, they act much like the Democrats are right now; that history began only 60 short days ago, and nothing before their revelation of a classified program is relevant to the debate.

Au contraire. These cases are extremely RELEVANT. And here's a question for the Times in regard to their stance on precedent. When it comes to abortion, you stand beside precedent, and shout from the mountaintops that it maintains "the law of the land," yet you refuse to accept precedent when it upholds the powers of the president. Why? The courts are universal. Their job is to interpret ALL law. If it's good for the positions that you support, why is it that the editorial staff refuses to acknowledge the same weight of precedent on issues the Times are against?

Publius II

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Irresponsibility Care Of The New York Times

The New York Times once again displays not only it's ignorance in matters of law, but it's overall agenda-driven journalism.

A bit over a week ago, President Bush and his men promised to provide the legal, constitutional and moral justifications for the sort of warrantless spying on Americans that has been illegal for nearly 30 years. Instead, we got the familiar mix of political spin, clumsy historical misinformation, contemptuous dismissals of civil liberties concerns, cynical attempts to paint dissents as anti-American and pro-terrorist, and a couple of big, dangerous lies.

The first was that the domestic spying program is carefully aimed only at people who are actively working with Al Qaeda, when actually it has violated the rights of countless innocent Americans. And the second was that the Bush team could have prevented the 9/11 attacks if only they had thought of eavesdropping without a warrant.

Sept. 11 could have been prevented. This is breathtakingly cynical. The nation's guardians did not miss the 9/11 plot because it takes a few hours to get a warrant to eavesdrop on phone calls and e-mail messages. They missed the plot because they were not looking. The same officials who now say 9/11 could have been prevented said at the time that no one could possibly have foreseen the attacks. We keep hoping that Mr. Bush will finally lay down the bloody banner of 9/11, but Karl Rove, who emerged from hiding recently to talk about domestic spying, made it clear that will not happen — because the White House thinks it can make Democrats look as though they do not want to defend America. "President Bush believes if Al Qaeda is calling somebody in America, it is in our national security interest to know who they're calling and why," he told Republican officials. "Some important Democrats clearly disagree."

Mr. Rove knows perfectly well that no Democrat has ever said any such thing — and that nothing prevented American intelligence from listening to a call from Al Qaeda to the United States, or a call from the United States to Al Qaeda, before Sept. 11, 2001, or since. The 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act simply required the government to obey the Constitution in doing so. And FISA was amended after 9/11 to make the job much easier.

Two things. First, they are correct. To date, no Democrat has ever said the above, however as the Times will agree, actions speak far louder than words. The actions and caterwauling of the Democrats is enough for America to understand that they do not like the president is protecting America. Secondly, there is one thing that prevented us from listening in on al Qaeda prior to September 11th. We were not yet at war with them, which meant we would have to go through the FISA court, and end up tipping our hand to our enemy. And, they love to cite the FISA law, and state that it is ordering the government to obey the law, which is exactly what it is doing. They cite the Fourth Amendment (which concerns only CITIZENS, you twits), and the president and the Justice Department are citing Article II, referring to the president's powers.

Only bad guys are spied on. Bush officials have said the surveillance is tightly focused only on contacts between people in this country and Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups. Vice President Dick Cheney claimed it saved thousands of lives by preventing attacks. But reporting in this paper has shown that the National Security Agency swept up vast quantities of e-mail messages and telephone calls and used computer searches to generate thousands of leads. F.B.I. officials said virtually all of these led to dead ends or to innocent Americans. The biggest fish the administration has claimed so far has been a crackpot who wanted to destroy the Brooklyn Bridge with a blowtorch — a case that F.B.I. officials said was not connected to the spying operation anyway.

This is an intercept program. The NSA is using computers to track, sort through, and record conversations that fall within program parameters. If it catches one that later does not fit into it's protocol, the computer drops it. The only human element comes in when the computer starts to spit out relevant data. It is not going to record Maureen Dowd, Molly Ivins, or any other Times writer who thinks that they actually mean something to the world. It is targeting terrorists, and picking them up communicating with their "brothers in death" across the globe.

The spying is legal. The secret program violates the law as currently written. It's that simple. In fact, FISA was enacted in 1978 to avoid just this sort of abuse. It said that the government could not spy on Americans by reading their mail (or now their e-mail) or listening to their telephone conversations without obtaining a warrant from a special court created for this purpose. The court has approved tens of thousands of warrants over the years and rejected a handful.

As amended after 9/11, the law says the government needs probable cause, the constitutional gold standard, to believe the subject of the surveillance works for a foreign power or a terrorist group, or is a lone-wolf terrorist. The attorney general can authorize electronic snooping on his own for 72 hours and seek a warrant later. But that was not good enough for Mr. Bush, who lowered the standard for spying on Americans from "probable cause" to "reasonable belief" and then cast aside the bedrock democratic principle of judicial review.

"The secret program violates the law as currently written." This is an out and out lie. Here is a little legal lesson for the New York Times. The US Constitution is the highest law in the land; no other laws supercede it, nor could they even if enacted. The FISA law is irrelevant to the powers of the president, which are enumerated under Article II, Sections 1 and 2. They stipulate that the powers of the Executive Branch lies within one President of the United States, and that president is the Commander in Chief of our military. In a time of war, nothing trumps the president's decisions. Here nedeth the lesson for the Times inept and wholly uneducated editorial board.

Just trust us. Mr. Bush made himself the judge of the proper balance between national security and Americans' rights, between the law and presidential power. He wants Americans to accept, on faith, that he is doing it right. But even if the United States had a government based on the good character of elected officials rather than law, Mr. Bush would not have earned that kind of trust. The domestic spying program is part of a well-established pattern: when Mr. Bush doesn't like the rules, he just changes them, as he has done for the detention and treatment of prisoners and has threatened to do in other areas, like the confirmation of his judicial nominees. He has consistently shown a lack of regard for privacy, civil liberties and judicial due process in claiming his sweeping powers. The founders of our country created the system of checks and balances to avert just this sort of imperial arrogance.

I hate to inform the times of this glaring fact, but Pres. Bush garnered more than 60 million votes in 2004 to win his reelection bid thereby gaining the trust of the American people that was trusted by America as opposed to Sen. Kerry. The Times would be wise to remember that it was Sen. Kerry, not Pres. Bush, that was caught in repeated lie and falsehood during that campaign. And when caught, he simply changed up his story, but even the changes were lies. And as to him making the rules, he does have that authrority under the Constitution, provided through the AUMF from Congress.

The rules needed to be changed. In 2002, a Republican senator — Mike DeWine of Ohio — introduced a bill that would have done just that, by lowering the standard for issuing a warrant from probable cause to "reasonable suspicion" for a "non-United States person." But the Justice Department opposed it, saying the change raised "both significant legal and practical issues" and may have been unconstitutional. Now, the president and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales are telling Americans that reasonable suspicion is a perfectly fine standard for spying on Americans as well as non-Americans — and they are the sole judges of what is reasonable.

So why oppose the DeWine bill? Perhaps because Mr. Bush had already secretly lowered the standard of proof — and dispensed with judges and warrants — for Americans and non-Americans alike, and did not want anyone to know.

Just a second. I would like the Times to cite me--in the Constitution--where a non-citizen is granted ANY protections under it. It is not there. This is a gross misrepresentation of the facts; non-citizens gain no quarter under the Constitution. The Times should be ashamed as to screw up a simple fact of Constitutional Law.

War changes everything. Mr. Bush says Congress gave him the authority to do anything he wanted when it authorized the invasion of Afghanistan. There is simply nothing in the record to support this ridiculous argument.

The administration also says that the vote was the start of a war against terrorism and that the spying operation is what Mr. Cheney calls a "wartime measure." That just doesn't hold up. The Constitution does suggest expanded presidential powers in a time of war. But the men who wrote it had in mind wars with a beginning and an end. The war Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney keep trying to sell to Americans goes on forever and excuses everything.

The Times may think that this "excuse" does not hold water, however the courts have ruled that just such instances exist. And there is no discerning measures that the Times cites from the Framers. A "discernible" beginning and end is a bit much to state. No one knew precisely how long World War I or World War II was going to last. If it had lasted ten years, the president's war powers would be unchallenged. This is simply a cop-out argument made by the Times. And in the question of how long a "war" would take, did Pres. Clinton not lie then about the war in Kosovo; promising our troops would be home within a year? They are still there.

Other presidents did it. Mr. Gonzales, who had the incredible bad taste to begin his defense of the spying operation by talking of those who plunged to their deaths from the flaming twin towers, claimed historic precedent for a president to authorize warrantless surveillance. He mentioned George Washington, Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevelt. These precedents have no bearing on the current situation, and Mr. Gonzales's timeline conveniently ended with F.D.R., rather than including Richard Nixon, whose surveillance of antiwar groups and other political opponents inspired FISA in the first place. Like Mr. Nixon, Mr. Bush is waging an unpopular war, and his administration has abused its powers against antiwar groups and even those that are just anti-Republican.

My gripe with Mr. Gonzales is the simple fact that the previous four presidents have used such surveillance to keep tabs on our enemies, or potential security risks, within our nation. His only serious mistake was not putting the intercept program into context, relevant to the world today. Citing Washing, Wilson, and FDR are good, but the history is much different for them than the world today. Remember, FDR was still speaking to America via his "Fireside Chats;" there was no Internet, or fiber-optic communications. Nor were thre satellites in space bouncing our communications around the globe. Context, in this aspect, is everything.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is about to start hearings on the domestic spying. Congress has failed, tragically, on several occasions in the last five years to rein in Mr. Bush and restore the checks and balances that are the genius of American constitutional democracy. It is critical that it not betray the public once again on this score.

I suggest the next time the New York Times decides to write a piece of garbage like this that they consult an actual expert before going off half-cocked. One can understand why they are fighting for this so badly--as this was their story--but there is a point where you have to wave the white flag. They are losing this argument, and it will not be pretty if they continue to act like the KosKiddies throwing a tantrum.

Just because they say something is illegal does not make it so. On the contrary, as they are not the ones who determine our laws, nor whether something is leagal or not, they are completely unprepared for this debate. And it is showing. If I were the Times editor in chief, I would fire the person who came up with this lame-brained editorial, and any op-ed editor that went a long with this. The Times will have plenty to answer for once the leak investigation comes to a close.

The Bunny ;)

Countdown To Carnage, Or Common Sense?

A little over 24 hours from now, and we will know which way the wind blows in the Senate as Samuel Alito will either witness his unstoppable ascension to the Supreme Court, or watch as over thirty petulant brats throw a temper tantrum on the floor of the Senate. The following are the numbers for and against Samuel Alito as tracked by California Yankee.

57 FOR:

Allard (R - CO), Allen (R - VA), Alexander (R - TN), Bennett (R - UT),Bond (R - MO), Brownback (R - KS), Bunning (R - KY), Burns (R - MT), Burr (R - NC), Byrd (D - WV), Crapo (R - ID), Chambliss (R - GA), Coburn (R - OK), Cochran (R - MS), Coleman (R - MN), Collins (R - ME), Conrad (D - ND), Cornyn (R - TX), Craig (R - ID), DeMint, (R - SC), DeWine (R - OH), Dole (R - NC), Domenici (R - NM), Ensign (R - NV), Enzi, (R - WY), Frist (R - TN), Graham (R - SC), Grassley (R - IA), Gregg (R - NH), Hagel (R - NE), Hatch (R - UT), Hutchison (R - TX), Inhofe (R - OK), Isakson (R - GA), Johnson (D - SD), Kyl (R - AZ), Lott (R - MS), Lugar (R - IN), Martinez (R - FL), McCain (R - AZ), McConnell (R - KY), Murkowski (R - AK), Nelson (D - NE), Roberts (R - KS), Santorum (R - PA), Sessions (R - AL), Shelby (R - AL), Smith (R - OR), Specter (R - PA), Stevens (R - AK), Sununu (R - NH), Talent (R - MO), Thomas (R - WY), Thune (R - SD), Vitter (R - LA), Voinovich (R - OH) and Warner (R - VA).


Akaka (D - HI), Baucus (D - MT), Bingaman (D - NM), Biden (D - DE), Boxer (D - CA), Carper, (D - DE), Clinton (D - NY), Dayton (D - MN), Dodd (D - CT), Durbin (D - IL), Feingold (D - WI), Feinstein (D - CA), Harkin, (D - IA), Inouye (D - HI), Jeffords (I - VT), Kennedy (D - MA), Kerry (D - MA), Kohl (D - WI), Leahy (D - VT), Levin (D - MI), Lieberman (D - CT), Lincoln (D - AR), Mikulski (D - MD), Murray (D - WA), Nelson (D - FL), Obama (D - IL), Pryor (D - AR), Reed (D - RI), Reid (D - NV), Salazar (D - CO), Sarbanes (D - MD), Schumer (D - NY) Stabenow (D - MI) and Wyden (D - OR).

Now, those keeping score at home (and those that know how to add, unlike Democrats like Kerry and Kennedy) know two things. First, 57 is larger than 34; a filibuster is doomed if the Democrats try the move. Second, 34 plus 57 only equals 91. True, true; below are the undecided fence sitters that tomorrow will be forced to either s**t or get off the pot.

Bayh (D - IN), Cantwell (D - WA), Chafee (R - RI), Dorgan (D - ND), Landrieu (D - LA), Lautenberg (D - NJ), Menendez (D - NJ), Rockefeller, (D - WV) and Snowe (R - ME).

Yes, the two idiot RINOs up for reelection are in the mix, and so is Lautenberg, who introduced Alito to the Judiciary Committee at the beginning of his hearings. I'm hedging my bets on this prediction (like my previous 79-21 prediction fared so well in this round) but I think that Chafee, Snowe, and Launtenberg will side with the GOP on this, and bring the total to sixty thereby ending the threat of a filibuster. Bayh might even join in the mix as he is pushing for a presidential bid in 2008, and is still living down the scathing and scurrilous attacks on Dr. Condoleeza Rice and Alberto Gonzales during the Senate's open debate on them.

The rest are toss ups. Cantwell is up for reelction, along with Menendez. Both could moderate their votes to ensure an easier go on their bid to retain their seats. The others are virtually insignificant in their votes. Nothing is going to pull more people over to the Democrats to increase their chance of a filibuster--successful or otherwise.

At this point, all that's left is the waiting. Sen. Reid would be wise to act as a leader for his party, and tell the extreme elements within the party to be silent. The Democrats don't need advice from losers like Kerry and Kennedy; both of which seem dead-set to appeal to the extreme moonbat fringe through DailyKos' sandbox. Personally, their capitulation to the fringe of their party reminds me a lot about the regular lip service that politicians pay to their constituents at election time only; a fact made more than evident when John Kerry initially denied posting on the DailyKos site. I wonder if he was afraid of the repercussions he might face from the overall base? No one cares enough about Kennedy to warrant throwing a hissy fit. Let the old dog lie in the Senate until the people get sick of his bloviations about the "miracles" of a socialist America. He's a joke; a reflection of a time lost long ago when his brothers died, and took the good Kennedy name with them, leaving behind poor Teddy.

Tomorrow will be the day the Democrats either reserve themselves to the fact that they lost another round, or show America that they, too, can act like a two-year old throwing a fit over not getting their way.

Publius II

Ineptitude In Law Enforcement

I respect law enforcement. However when stories like this one catch my eye, I just have to shake my head. (Hat-tip: Captain's Quarters, and emphasis is mine.)

ARLINGTON — Authorities know who is responsible for leaving two fairly sophisticated explosive devices inside a south Arlington hotel suite, but they are not naming the man until relatives are notified.

Management at the InTown Suites, an extended-stay hotel in the 1700 block of Oak Village Boulevard, called 911 about 6 p.m. Friday to report a duffel bag filled with ammunition and two pipe bombs in the room of a man who died at an Arlington hospital about two days ago, Deputy Fire Marshal Darin Niederhaus said.

The hotel was evacuated, and the bombs, along with another suspicious package in the hotel parking lot, were detonated late Friday.The pipe bombs were about 15 inches long, about 3 inches in diameter and connected to each other by 10 to 12 feet of wire. The bombs were filled with black powder, gunshot pellets and enough bullets to create a spray of shrapnel if exploded, investigators said.

The man came to Arlington about a month ago and took a job at a local business, Niederhaus said. The car he was driving had Louisiana license plates, but the man had driver’s licenses from Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana, Niederhaus said. There is no evidence that the man was a terrorist, Niederhaus said. The ingredients for the two bombs that were detonated are not difficult to find, but can be tricky to manipulate.

“The purpose of this was to create as much havoc as possible, so that innocent bystanders are hurt,” he said. “We were lucky.”

No evidence that the man was a terrorist. Telling, isn't it. We're just over a decade reoved from the Oklahoma City bombing, and the police in Arlington seems to have forgotten about the concept of domestic terrorism. Granted, this was no fertilizer bomb designed to destroy a building, but if this man were to have lived and gone into a mall to detonate these devices, the outcome would have been quite deadly. I'm appalled that the police isn't taking this man seriously, regardless of the fact that he's dead now. Where did he get the materials? Did he have any accomplices? Did they track his movements back through Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana?

It seems to me that the police don't believe that anyone could be a terrorist. If I took my firearm into a store in Chicago and started shooting at people, that is a crime of assault and attempted murder, but it also falls under the purview of terrorism laws. So, why are the police not taking this matter a bit more seriously than what is alluded to in this news report?

It's simply disgusting that the police seem so apathetic about this. I'd be willing to be that if the man's name was Mohammed, they'd be thinking twice about this. That's not to be racist, but memories are short, and people seem to have forgotten the "terrorists" that we've had here in the nation. They were named Timothy, Terry, Ted, Yaser, Jose, and John.

Terrorists don't just come from Middle Eastern countries. Some are grown right here, and if I were the officer in charge of the investigation in Arlington, I'd be doing a bit more digging.

Mistress Pundit

A Chink In The Armor

How will the pro-abortion crowd spin this story? (HT: Michelle Malkin)

A majority of women in Britain want the abortion laws to be tightened to make it harder, or impossible, for them to terminate a pregnancy.

Evidence of a widespread public demand for the government to further restrict women's right to have an abortion is revealed in a remarkable Observer opinion poll. The findings have reignited the highly-charged debate on abortion, and increased the pressure on Tony Blair to review the current time limits.

The survey by MORI shows that 47 per cent of women believe the legal limit for an abortion should be cut from its present 24 weeks, and another 10 per cent want the practice outlawed altogether. Among the population overall, reducing the upper limit was the preferred option backed by the largest proportion of respondents, 42 per cent, made up of a 36-47 per cent split among men and women.

Only one person in three agreed that 'the current time limit is about right', with slightly fewer women (31 per cent) than men (35 per cent) saying that. Just 2 per cent of women and 5 per cent of men think the last possible date after which a woman can end a pregnancy should be increased from 24 weeks.

The leader of the 4.1 million Catholics in England and Wales, Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor, called on politicians last night to heed the evidence of a growing demand for a rethink on abortion policy, to include The Observer's findings. 'There has been a moral awakening over the last few years about abortion; the British public have been undergoing a reality check,' said his spokesman, Dr Austen Ivereigh. 'The Cardinal sees in this moral awakening a growing unease with, and erosion of, the idea of abortion as simply a woman's right.'

Increased awareness of the realities of abortion, and the impact of ultrasound images of a 23-week-old foetus smiling and grimacing, have made people change their views, said Ivereigh. The latter 'very dramatically showed that what had been depersonalised in many people's minds as a foetus was clearly seen to be a baby, a human being in formation, and that has come as a shock to many people', he added...

And Michelle adds this little tidbit to the story, which is, no doubt, influencing this change in attitude, written by her in 2003.

All of Britain was buzzing last week after a tabloid published highly controversial photos-not of a topless supermodel or two female pop singers kissing or Prince William in a grass skirt, but of angelic babies smiling in the womb.

The ultrasound images, taken between 26 and 34 weeks of conception, were released by Dr. Stuart Campbell and widely circulated on the Internet via the Drudge Report. Campbell's an obstetrician at the privately-run Create Healthcare clinic in London. For the past two years, the medical facility has offered state-of-the art 3-D/4-D scanning equipment services to expectant parents. Campbell performs an average of 30 scans a week. His outspoken enthusiasm for this blessed technology is refreshing. "Parents love them," he told the Mirror. "I hear so many couples laughing when they see the pictures - it's wonderful."

Campbell's high-tech window to the womb also shows the babies moving their limbs at 8 weeks, leaping and turning by 12 weeks, curling their toes and fingers at 15 weeks, and yawning at 20 weeks. The clients' reactions are overwhelming, Campbell said, "especially with fathers, who rarely get involved. Before they sat in the corner. Now they really show emotion. I enjoy scanning and looking at babies. It is so informative about babies and behavior. Every scan is an adventure."

How have pro-abortion activists abroad reacted after seeing the happy, grinning photos of these unborn babies? With reflexive scowls and dour grimaces, naturally.

Anne Karpf, a commentator for the British-based Guardian who bills herself as a "medical sociologist," says the photos are "deeply disquieting" and ridicules the anti-abortion lobby for being "intoxicated with evidence of a fetus's humanity." (God forbid this cold woman ever be exposed to a pregnant mommy experiencing the undiluted joy of a baby kicking inside her for the first time.) Australian Birth Control Services medical director Geoff Brodie complained that the photos "will be picked up by those groups that use anything and everything to stop terminations but ignore the fact that women have a right to choice."

Karpf, Brodie, and their deathmates are enraged that Dr. Campbell is so gleefully showing the world that the vibrant life inside a mother's womb is much more than inanimate and disembodied material. How dare anyone suggest that the booming business of "terminations" is tantamount to mass murder?

Here in America, the pro-abortion lobby is having the same toxic reaction. It was bad enough when conventional, 2-D sonograms revealed unborn hearts beating and blurry hands waving, but the abortionists are absolutely aghast over rapidly spreading access to 3-D/4-D ultrasound technology. When General Electric began running incredibly moving ads last year celebrating the company's new innovations in sonography, a writer for the liberal American Prospect complained the commercials were "a milieu of clever illusion" that "blur[red] the distinction between a fetus and a newborn infant." This from the masters of deception who gave us the infamous euphemisms "fetal matter" and "uterine tissue," which have successfully blurred the distinction between human life and disposable Kleenex for more than three decades.

Similarly, pro-abortion advocates have attacked legislation in Congress, introduced by Fla. Republican Cliff Stearns, which would guarantee free ultrasound screenings to any woman who visits a non-profit crisis pregnancy center that receives subsidies for sonogram equipment. Kathryn Allen, Planned Parenthood spokeswoman, griped: "With all the problems going on in our world, I can't imagine that Congress would spend its time and energy on ultrasound for anyone." Alison Herwitt, director of government relations for NARAL Pro-Choice America in Washington, also attacked pro-life supporters of the bill: "They don't want women to go to Planned Parenthood, where they'll get their full range of options," said Alison Herwitt, "They just want them to go to crisis pregnancy centers, where women will be exposed to this weapon at taxpayers' expense."

Liberals in America are all for the government giving away any health services for free-except if it's a service that has the ability to persuade a wavering patient to preserve a life instead of end it. These amazing advances in golden-hued ultrasound have illuminated an insurmountable truth: No amount of NARAL money or NOW screeching can overcome the persuasive power of an unborn child's beaming face.

I know many people are turned off by this debate, and I know why; there's too much emotion involved in it. From the raving death dealers themselves to the Christian activists that look at this grisly practice as an affront to God. For the record, I'm Catholic and I dislike the practice of abortion, but not for reasons that most would assume. True, I believe that the practice is an abomination, but what is more disturbing to me is the fact that nine unelected judges decided this issue for everyone in America.

That's not how it's done, and the Left's cavalcade of moonbats should remember that. When the government has no control over an issue in the forefront of America, it resides in the purview of the states to decide the matter. You want to smoke marijuana for medicinal purposes? Sorry, it's a controlled substance under the FDA regulations and the Controlled Substances Act. You want to kill your baby for whatever reason, and the feds haven't ruled on it, I'm sorry, but your state sets the rules. But in 1973, that wisdom was flushed straight down the toilet in more ways than one.

Abortion wasn't decided through careful, thoughtful jurisprudence. It was decided based on emotion, and the worst sort. It was reactionary and unwarranted. What's worse is that Roe wasn't the straw that broke the camel's back. No, it was the case decided later in the day in Doe v. Bolton which opened the doors to abortion on demand. Which is where we are today. What is worse is as Congress has tried to curtail the act, in attempting to make late-term abortions illegal, the pro-abortion nuts went out in full force. They filed injunctions to prevent the implementation of the law, screaming to high heaven that it violated a woman's "right to choose."

And that is another fallacy in this argument: The inclusion of things that aren't an enumerated right. Abortion was not added to the Constitution via an amendment. Nor did women gain a right to choose through the amending process. Liberal lawyers who peddle these arguments, ladies and gentlemen, are nitwits. You can't defend a right that doesn't exist. Yes, as a "lay scholar" on Constitutional Law, I recognize the idea of precedent, or stare decisis. Here's my answer to that argument.

"Stare decisis is for suckers."

Both Chief Justice Roberts and soon-to-be Associate Justice Alito have maintained that stare decisis, while important, is not the end all, be all for the law. In fact, many scholars are beginning to agree that rulings such as Roe that were decided badly, should be reconsidered and revisited. No one wants to, which is where we go back to the unhinged emotion on both sides. While I'm sympathetic with the cause of the Right, and abhor the stance of the Left, my only answer to both sides is simple, and straight-forward.

Shut up, already!

They're not going to change anyone's opinions regarding the issue. This issue will only be resolved by making the Supreme Court reexamine it's mistake; the trumping of the right of the states to make law to govern their citizens. The strategy is quite simple, and one that I've dubbed "The Tenth Amendment Trump." It's well within the boundaries set forth by the Framers in regard to what is and isn't Constitutional. If the government doesn't already have it's meddling hands in something, it falls to the states to deal with.

But the story from Britain is one that should bring hope to the pro-life people. We adopted the practice of abortion on the heels of Europe's approval of the act. True that as Justice Blackmun's majority opinion included a comprehensive history of the practice with very little reinforcement through jurisprudence. If times are indeed changing, as are sentiments, this debate could reach a climax within the next few years. Roe could be overturned, and returned to the states where it belongs.

Make no mistake, this doesn't solve the practice. In the hands of the states, we know that more than one or two will adopt the practice as the law of their land. Abortion won't be outlawed, as the liars in the pro-abortion camp keep claiming. This is why they aren't lawyers; inherently, these people have zero knowledge--even basic knowledge--of how the Constitution works, and what happenes when a decision is overturned. Sens. Feinstein and Boxer can climb down off of their soapboxes, Sen. Kennedy can quit tossing in the Borking attacks on conservatives. We are not returning to an age of "back-alley abortions" and violations of "women's rights." We would be returning the proper balance of the laws and the courts to where they were before this decision was rendered.

The story from Britain brings a smile to my face in that people are starting to realize this practice is brutal and uncalled for, unless in extreme circumstances. What was created in 1973 was a license to murder. Hopefull, within the next few years, that license will be revoked.

Publius II

Mother Sheehan: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

And we thought Al Gore and "Howling Mad" Howard Dean were good, but Mother Sheehan has decided that she wants to challenge Sen. Dianne Feinstein for her Senate seat in the upcoming primaries.

CARACAS, Venezuela - Cindy Sheehan, the peace activist who set up camp near
President Bush's Texas ranch last summer, said Saturday she is considering running against Sen. Dianne Feinstein to protest what she called the California lawmaker's support for the war in Iraq .

First off, I wouold forbid her from returning to the US, as I would have done with Harry Belafonte. They both traveled down to Venezuala to show their support for Hugo Chavez, a Communist dictator, and their disdain for the US. Let us just solve their problems right now: Do not come home. America does not want you back here; at least the majority of Americans that love their nation, and would love to see the trash chucked.

"She voted for the war. She continues to vote for the funding. She won't call for an immediate withdrawal of the troops," Sheehan told The Associated Press in an interview while attending the World Social Forum in Venezuela along with thousands of other anti-war and anti-globalization activists.

"I think our senator needs to be held accountable for her support of George Bush and his war policies," said Sheehan, whose 24-year-old soldier son Casey was killed in Iraq in 2004.

Feinstein's campaign manager, Kam Kuwata, said the senator "doesn't support George Bush and his war policies."

"She has stated publicly on numerous occasions that she felt she was misled by the administration at the time of the vote," Kuwata said by phone from California.

But with troops committed, Feinstein believes immediate withdrawal is not a responsible option, Kuwata said.

Wow. Sen. Feinstein finally located a bit of wisdom in her rhetoric. At least she can stand up and say she is not a "cut-and-run" Democrat. Of course this is an obvious losing idea with America right now. The antiwar Left has not ginned up enough antipathy for the war. Too many Americans support our troops (due in part to the memories of how the troops were treated post-Vietnam). We said "never again" back in 1974, and we meant it. Our troops will never have the disdain of the nation again.

"Senator Feinstein's position is, let's work toward quickly turning over the defense of Iraq to Iraqis so that we can bring the troops home as soon as possible," he said.

Sheehan accused Feinstein of being out of touch with Californians on the issue.

She said she would decide whether to run after talking with her three other adult children. The Democratic primary will be held in June, and candidates must submit their statements for the voter guide by Feb. 14.

Kuwata said Feinstein and Sheehan appear to have a fundamental disagreement over whether troops should be pulled out right now. "That's why they have elections, and if she decides to file (paperwork to run), so be it," he said.

Just an aside here, but the GOP has been trying for years to unseat Sen. Feinstein in California. They have been unable to, mostly because the GOP in California is like a dog chasing it's tail. California is too liberal of a state right now to succeed at such a monumental task. The "gift" I refer to in the title is that if Mother Sheehan does enter the race, Sen. Feinstein might be forced to move more towards her position, making her vulnerable in the primaries. That could prove to be devastating, though I doubt Mother Sheehan could win in the primary. Her notoriety and popularity is only with the wing-nut, moonbat fringe, and she faces the same problem that John Kerry does in courting that side of the party; yes, they may have clout, but it is not enough to deliver a win.

Sheehan said running in the Democratic primary would help make a broader point.

"If I decided to run, I would have no illusions of winning, but it would bring attention to all the peace candidates in the country," she said.

Does anyone remember the "peace" candidates of the past that ran for national office, and how soundly they were defeated. I am sitting here trying to think of a prominent candidate for peace that ever won, and I cannot think of one. I asked Thomas, and he cannot think of any. And after a fairly thorough search, I can find no one on the peace andwagon that has ever won. Of course, Thomas reminded me of Woodrow Wilson, who campaigned on staying out of foreign entanglements, but eventually entered World War I. So, the attention brought to people like her, and even John Murtha, might be noteworthy, but that platform will not help them win elections.

Sheehan, 48, who lives in Berkeley, Calif., said she would head to Washington on Sunday for protests against Bush's State of the Union address on Tuesday, and then return to California to discuss her idea of running against Feinstein with her son and two daughters.

"I can't see — if they think it's going to help peace — that they would be opposed to me doing it," she said.

Her family was not happy that she carried on like a moonbat for the last year or so, blaming all of her problems on the loss of her son, and by proxy, on the president. She made a mockery of herself, and of her family. She was like the crazy aunt kept locked up in the basement that somehow escaped. Sorry, but that is how I see it, and I call it like I see it. She was embraced and coddled by the antiwar Left and the press. When the press moved on from the "Mother Sheehan Show," she lashed out at them, and even accused them of being "pawns" and "tools" of the administration.

As Tammy Bruce would warn, it is not wise to turn on the press if you are an activist. They can be your best friend, or your worst enemy. She should know as she was president of the NOW branch out of Los Angeles, and before waking up and seeing the error of her ways, led many a protest and boycott from Los Angeles.

And as to Mother Sheehan's platform, what will it be? "All we are saying is give peace a chance?" Is that going to be it? I hope not because then her candidacy is a joke from the start, and she will lose badly. It will be a waste of time and of money. People who run for office to bring attention to one issue are sure losers. Ask Chris Simcox in his recent unsuccessful bid in California. He focused completely on the border, citing incorrect statistics and "facts," and was soundly mudstomped. Sure, every once in a while you can catch one of his supporters calling in on talk radio, but they are as nearly unhinged as some of the Left's moonbats.

Mother Sheehan had really better sit down and think about this real hard. She has no hope of defeating Sen. Feinstein. Do some damage to her, sure, but there is no way she can take the old battle-axe down. And Mother Sheehan should also remember that when the primary comes around, Sen. Feinstein will command the media. She will be lucky to make a footnote on the nightly newscasts.

No, Mother Sheehan is indeed one of the gifts that keep on giving; she continues to show how out-of-touch, out-of-the-mainstream the Democrats have become. And as long as idiotarians like her stay out there, the better for our side it is. Sure, we have our occasional loose screws (Ann Coulter comes to mind), but they are only looney for a day or two, and come back home. They do not stay out in Left field all the time. Mother Sheehan is so deep in Left field that she cannot see the play developing that is about to cut her off at the knees in going up against Sen. Feinstein.

The Bunny ;)

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